Sunday, April 29, 2007

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Popcorn for breakfast

Today the kids had popcorn for breakfast. We popped corn on the stove then served it in cereal bowls with milk, just as G&N learned from Alton Brown's Good Eats. Talk about child-led hilarity. They seem to like it, but I am not sure if they'd tell me if they didn't.

I told R-dreamer about it, and she remembers the same experience at a Farm school when she was young. She told me it made such an impression that she begged her mother for popped corn for breakfast the next day.

~G~ says "It was kind of weird feeling on the top of my mouth. It was a little tasty. It just needs some sugar on it. The TV show said it was healthy, and the guy who loved Popcorn ate popcorn all of the all of the time!"

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Cheesecake and Chones

That was the theme of this week's Wednesday with Friends. Why yes, they are related, but thankfully not directly. At least not immediately! :)

Why I blog

As tagged by the lovely Niki. I used to think blogging was a huge waste of time, and somewhat egotistical.

1. Since before my children were born, I have journalled. Never very consistently, and somewhat dully, since when I did write it would be with great emotion about something going on in my life at that time. It would pop up in my journal without any context or seeming relation to what had just gone before. After the birth of my daughter, I committed to keeping a journal for her specifically, so that we could both watch her grow. By this time, I had moved my journal to electronic format, but I kept hers in a lovely paper book. However, even with one child I found finding the time to write it all out tedious, and inserting photographs, as all parents are wont to do, even more annoying. So within the first year I switched hers to Word.

When ~N~ was born, same thing. Soon it became insane, and maintaining three journals in electronic form was just as unpleasant for me as one in written format. Further, our lives were so entwined it didn't make sense. It seemed contrived to try to break out parts of our days to write to them individually, and typing the same thing into each journal just wasted time in my opinion.

2. The pictures became the most efficient way for me to express myself anyway. There is little need to write a two page missive when a sequence of three shots carries the story so much better. I enjoy photo entries so much, and they really do speak more than words.

3. Even before we moved to Washington, we had family and friends far away. Even people who do not have direct access to my blog benefit from a handy cut-and-paste into an email. It's so much easier to have everything in one place, even for me, and it becomes a powerful record of our life here. Even in the short two years I have been actively blogging, I have watched the children grow and change dramatically and I value capturing that metamorphosis.

4. Blogging has given me access to a form of Internet community I really enjoy. The blogosphere is filled with as many opinions as there are people, but unlike chat boards, you can be very specific as to who and what you allow to cross your personal mind's eye. When I was preparing for my last two births, I read blog after blog, grateful for the generosity of the women who shared their home birth stories and images, as they bolstered my own courage and informed my expectations. I pay that forward with my own published birth stories. With our homeschooling journey, it is the same, but I get to do in the now and actually exchange practical ideas and philosophies in real time. Even with activism, we in the blogosphere actually learn from one another, alert one another, and bolster our scattered communities with a unified purpose when we need to.

5. I have also found that the blog has strengthened our shared experiences with our real time community. Writing about our adventures engenders a fondness and a shared memory that we all get to revisit from time to time. Going through the archives often brings a smile and a "Oh yeah, I remember that!" Because I know they are reading everyday, it helps me to update on things that have happened when they may not have been around.

Before blogging I didn't really realize how varied and full our lives are. I simply found myself so caught in the day-to-day race of diapers-cooking-cleaning-laughing-loving-learning that I lost sight of how much was actually transpiring. I value this record now, and I like to think it serves a purpose greater than just my personal journal for our lives.

Hmm. To tag? I tag Danelle78, simply because her blog name is the titular question, and Mack, because she needs an excuse to update her blog, and MelissaTulip, because I'd be interested in the answer!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Another new thing learned

An acute allergy attack looks a lot like skull fracture.

You'd think in the land of the Wolfmeisters that we'd be used to allergy issues, but it was "the wrong child" whose eyes swelled his face into bruised distortion last night. Mere seconds after he'd slipped on a wet bathroom floor so badly that his feet came to rest on the sink, his eyes started to swell shut. I know they weren't swelling before, because he was going into the bathroom to check out a scratch on his cheek that I'd just pointed out to him.

"It sure looks like an allergy attack, but to what???" We gave him benadryl, we held him all night and we made sure he wasn't sensitive to light, in pain, or incoherent.

"It sure looks like an allergy attack, but that was a hard fall... why on earth now? And why is it bruised???" He swore he didn't hit his eye on the way down, and he tells the story the same way each time we ask it. We thought... maybe Romulus? He'd been on ~N~'s lap just prior to the bathroom incident.... he got a haircut earlier..... maybe?

This morning, when 12 hours of sleep and an adult dose of benadryl hadn't reduced the swelling on ~N~'s left eye, we decided to take him in.
My last bit of cool, seasoned parental calm went out the window when I considered the consequences of "what if I am wrong?"
We called the Pede on her cell phone and she saw us the first hour the office opened. They checked his orbital bones, palpated his head and checked for any fluid building behind his eye.

Just a bad coincidence that it started just after his hard fall. After dissecting the situation here and with the pede, it was Romulus' haircut that caused the drama. Our poor poodle was so disgusting that every bit of the pollen from this spring was embedded in the dog's dreadlocked hair.

Yes. A bad coincidence. But it had me scared. It had me praying for something instead of my normal, private "thank you" pulses to God. For this 24 hours it was a cradled, sleeping head and a whispered "Please help my child." It's easy now, with the full knowledge that everything will be fine, to think that this is melodramatic. But when you're there, in the unknown, it's all you can do to steel yourself against dark waves of fear. As it stands, gratefully, he will be Just Fine. The swelling is going down incrementally.

Now I can go back to being thankful again.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Nursing fashions


Click the link above to see more. I love these paintings.


Sunday, April 22, 2007

Happy Earth Day




We tended our trees and fortified the big, back garden.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Tidying

Updated pix on

Life is Good

Lotsa Lotsa

and

Easter

We scaled the secret staircase

Remember this post?




We went from the beach to the top of the cliff up the secret staircase. Even the kids made LOTR jokes because we felt like Frodo and Sam following Gollum into Mordor. Thankfully, only the steep climb was even remotely like the film. We hadn't attempted it before yesterday because I didn't think D-baby could manage it. In some places, someone had built footholds into the cliff, as you see in the picture, but most of the time it was like a very narrow game trail with an unforgiving drop off through the blackberry thickets to the rocky beach below.

The big kids were fast as lightning. What's narrow to a 35 pound person? The toddler, however, had more of a struggle, but only because his legs were so little. He loved every second of the climb. I used my walking stick to dig into the trail ahead of him, as I arched overhead, and he used that as purchase to keep going. It wasn't great for my back, but baby was way-safe and I got to ignore the vertigo I get on high, narrow things. The big kids kept stopping to enjoy the view and expound "Whooooooooooaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa look how high we are! " which, spaz that I am, would make me look. oooooooooo don't look, ~L~

It was a beautiful climb, though, beautiful, beautiful. When we go back without toddler, we'll be able to see all of Gig Harbor from some points. The problem is this: it doesn't lead into the Harry Potter woods. I am proud to note that it is exactly the same latitude as the HP woods, but I forgot about the cul de sac that abuts the woods just before the cliff. We crested the rise and abruptly found ourselves in someones back yard (sound familiar?), but fortunately there was a construction site just next door. The kids wanted to go down the way we came ("um, no kids, I will talk to the neighbors before we'd do that") We skirted the existing house and walked the edge of the construction site to get to our street, far above where we'd normally take the path down to the beach. To those who know the walk, we were in the cul de sac with the beautiful Rainer view and the rental house I constantly lament).

G: That was COOL! I have to peeeeeeeee!!!!!!
N: Let's do it AGAIN! Right now!
D: DO it again! This way! This way!
G: I have to peeeeeeeeeeeeeeee (runs home)

The compromise was that the boys and I went into the Harry Potter woods and took the forest loop back to our property. When we got back to the property but were still in the forest, we saw a beautiful red-crested woodpecker. The boys and I just stood and watched it for minutes. After the boys had been in arms for as long as I could stand it, I started taking pix. He was pretty far away, but you can make him out.




I think P-Daddy was invigorated by our escapades. After digging in the garden bed with Daddy, D-baby crashed out and G went into a painting odyssey. P-daddy took ~N~ on a walk and did the HP loop themselves. This time, a pregnant doe crossed their path (in our yard, people!), pretty much unperturbed by their presence.

Later, as we were releasing into the rose garden the ladybugs we bought at home depot, ~N~ exclaimed "I have had an AWESOME day!!!"

Me too, baby boy.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Life is Good

It is. It really really is.



----------------------
Explanation:


So we actually drove in the van. We've been given the green light to drive it locally, but with a failing head gasket and a scary engine whine, I don't do it. At all. So for two weeks I haven't driven the van. This day, however, I had to because I was tired of not depositing a big fat check that's been on our desk for at least that long.

So, we drove to the bank, then the Petco to get crab food, then Home Depot (in GHN, these stores are all within a quarter mile of each other) to get the soil amendments we need for the new bed and flowers for G's garden, which suffered a BiscuitBoy plot.

It just felt good to be OUT like citizens again. D-baby was so inspired by our journeys that he started volunteering for Home Depot. The checker was so amused by it she could barely talk, but I got the camera out. (Guy behind me was PISSED, too. Butthead.)


On the way home, we saw that the tide was so low on the Purdy Spit that people were hard to SEE at the edge of the water. That inspired our own beachy adventure. Life is good. Yes, yes, yes. No schedule but our own.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Lotsa Lotsa

6 Kids. Two days.

Day one: Cold and rain. Two brawling minie-minie-mine two year olds. Theatrical event! Wooooooooooo! Watch ~L~ scramble as all planned activities are exhausted by 11 AM. Watch children en masse decide not to cooperate on large activities and break into teams of two, intent on very different activities in very different parts of the house.

Day two: Sunshine! Thunderstorms forecast for the day. "Get out get out get out while you can! Sunshine!!" Watch ~L~ toss kids and energy bars outside while ~L~ prepares gigantic breakfast of fruit and whole-wheat-oatmeal pancakes with soy ice cream. Eat breakfast, sunshine still holding, toss five kids out--one two yo down for a three hour nap. Woot!

Toddler one goes live, toddler two starting to fade. Move party to the front yard with giant amounts of tents, tunnels, ride-ons and sidewalk chalk. Fullout sunshine at this point.

Lunch and snacks picnic style in the front yard. "Eat! Play! Eat! Overmuch!" Watch ~L~ toss food, popcorn, fruit leather, energy bars, watermelon, pancakes, milk, juice bags, water, anything to fuel the festivities.

Climax day with P-Daddy returning from business trip and Nikirj coming home, big walk to the beach and much kiddie whining from both big girls that

they're hungry.






Sunday, April 15, 2007

Mother Rising

We had a mother blessing yesterday for Snaygirl. I'd never been to one before, much less planned it. It was beautiful. It was a perfect collection of mothers, too, to bolster her before her new journey begins. We read this to her:

Within you the tree of life

within us

springs the very

seed and substance

of life itself

within us

lives the mighty

faith and power

to heal ourselves

within us

the heart of true love opens

breathes and nurtures

the soul of the world

within you

flows the luminous

essence and presence

of divine wisdom

within you

your awakening spirit

illumines the holy path

of personal transformation

within you

the tree of life blossoms

creates and gives birth

to radiant living miracles

-Shiloh Sophia McCloud



There is such a power in intention. Given the love and care that went into the preparation for this, both from the planners and the participants, I had expected things to go well for Snaygirl, no matter what actually transpired during the blessing. What I did not expect was a blessing for me as well. I was able for the first time ever to cook for and plan an event for a personal situation. I have worked with others professionally, but never with another friend as a friend for a friend. I have made beautiful tables before, even worked brought in another chef to do so, and then had to walk away, satisfied with the work but idly wondering what the participants would say and do. I was joyfully.....blessed....to enter a new phase in my own life where, yes, I can work well with others. This was done in a circle of filial love and trust and respect. It was awesome.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Head Gasket

Among the many two word phrases in the English language you never want to hear, surely

Head Gasket

is up in the top twenty. Maybe it's ranked the same as

Replace Engine

Friday, April 13, 2007

Diffendoofer Day

My kids are in a mega-workbook phase. While it's weird for me, I am rolling with it because well, that's what "child led" means. We read the Seuss book "Hooray for Diffendoofer Day!" and I explained to the kids that it was about homeschooling.

For those of you who haven't read it, it's about a group of children who attend Diffendoofer school, whoch hosts a wholly unusual curriculum of random activities, seeimingly without any academic merit. They just have fun all day.

Big Brother comes in and makes them all take a standardized test, which makes the principal freak out, because if they don't pass the kids will be sent to the other school-- an interesting description of public school follows. Their teacher explains that the children know far more than they think they know, and that the test will be simple. Not only do the kids ace the exam, they are floored with how little of their knowledge they had to use to do it.

I am not exactly sure how connected to this story my dd's recent affection for traditional worksheets is, but she's had a lot of fun using her grade-level's workbooks in math, science and social studies, and trouncing the pages. It's nice to watch her realize that she does indeed know a lot more than she thinks she does, and to muster her own faith in our little home education process.



On other fronts, D-baby was making huge strides in potty learning. We use the toilet with an inset, and a stool for him to climb up. He was using the potty every day for a little while to make his deposits, and was only having accidents on the carpet, and needing diapers to sleep.

In the past couple of weeks however, he's gone crazy. His molars have come in with a vengeance so he's had a personality change, and he's decided the toilet is the devil. Worse, he's been both refusing diapers--they're for babies-- AND using the toilet. He's been dropping loads and making fountains wherever he wants. This, needless to say, is a problem for my family. With the stress of no transportation combined with the stress of teething combined with the stress of spot cleaning NASTINESS off the carpet, my life has been suckage lately.

Nikirj brought her fully trained toddler over and I was hoping-- since they originally were on a par with this, together-- that he'd be re-inspired. Instead, when he saw toddlergirl climb up onto the toilet he FREAKED out, yelling at Nikirj, "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO ~N~ will fall innnnnnn! NOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Get her!"

Ah! So! "Did you fall in D-baby? Did you fall in without telling anyone?" He just burrowed into me at that point and wouldn't answer.

Yesterday, I bought him pullups (yes, I know. I probably hate them more than you do, and he has his own cloth underwear, but I am desperate) and made a huge deal about them. I also reintroduced the potty and explained that he could NOT fall in if he always used his inset. I said "You're a big boy to use the toilet, but you have a tiny butt. That's the only reason you use the inset. If you use the inset, you can't fall in, ok?"

I think that worked because now he's back on track.

Holy Moly, I sure hope so.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Uncle Bill

I am stinging from this loss. I am not one of those people who moved across country and had my relationships persist as if I had never left. So, I haven't talked to Uncle Bill in two years, since we moved out of the neighborhood adjacent to him. Bill and Deanie were cornerstones of my childhood. Very simple, salt-of-the-earth people, they were family icons. They didn't do much outside love their family and their church but they were just really, really good at it.

Bill, at 19, married Deanie when she was 13. They stayed together for the rest of his life and had three strong sons who all smile the same--just like their Daddy. Bill was the family fix-it guy who would come to work on your toilet or car, whether you asked him to or not.

They didn't really understand me when I grew up, or why I couldn't stay around my toxic mother (whose behaviour they blame on her divorce and my slacker sister) but they never treated me poorly. I feel bad for Deanie. Beyond bad. I can't imagine losing a partner of 56 years. I just can't.






William William Reese Harvill
, 75 of Charleston, SC, entered into eternal rest April 1, 2007.

Bill was the son of the late John and Elsie Harvill. Mr. Harvill proudly served 26 years in the United States Air Force, retiring at the rank of Master Sergeant. He was a devoted member of the First Church of the Nazarene on Yeamans Hall Road in Hanahan, SC. He is survived by his beloved wife of 56 years, Elizabeth "Deanie" Donnally Harvill, three sons, David and his wife Kathy of North Charleston, Ronald and his wife Christine of East Hartford, Conn., Daren and his wife Anna of Warner Robins, GA; seven grandchildren and six great-grandchildren, one brother Phillip "P.O." Harvill of Biloxi, MS. A funeral service will be held on Thursday, April 5, 2007, 1:00 PM at CAROLINA MEMORIAL FUNERAL HOME CHAPEL. Burial to follow in Carolina Memorial Park. The family will receive friends from 6:00 to 8:00 PM Wednesday, April 4, 2007, at CAROLINA MEMORIAL FUNERAL HOME, 7113 Rivers Avenue, North Charleston, SC. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the First Church of the Nazarene Memorial Roll in honor of his name. Visit our guestbook at www.charleston.net/deaths.

Life is Good Conference

I want to go to this so bad. Unless the van gets repaired quickly and economically, it's not going to happen this year either. I am so disappointed. Water pump? Crankshaft? WTF is wrong with it. In defiance and desperation I drove to Target in it this morning anyway to get the motrin for the screaming, molar-affected toddler. On the way home I noticed it was pulling hard to the right as well.

This weekend has sucked on so many levels.

Of course, once we got home, toddler produced the motrin bottle I couldn't find, which prompted the trip. He'd squirrelled it underneath the couch. Ugh.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

You can tell the weather is nice

by when I disappear...........

Pictures to come. :) Pictures here! :)

We went on an Easter egg hunt with the Schnayfamily at their church. Children in G's age group, hunting eggs, are like locusts swarming a wheat field. It was funny-scary. The men in charge of the Easter Egg hunt were endearing. It was a fabulous, well-thought-out event and the kids all had a blast. They had an Easter Bunny there, which was nice for the kids, but they also had Knights of Columbus wandering about making sure every child's basket was full of eggs and bags of candy. Very sweet.

Who needs Easter Eggs when you have colorful boys to take home?


Meeting Easter Bunny for the first time. That's as close as he came, and that's quite a grip he has there on Mommy's hand. He didn't cry, but he surely wasn't moving any closer to the big furry thing.


~N~, showing me his take. ~D~ and Schnaybaby in the background, trading their take.



This is a little girl who takes her egg hunting seriously.
(Yes, there was an egg under there!)







At home, we dyed Easter eggs using dyes we made from coffee, blueberries and greens. We also used some oil-based dyes that let the eggs get a tie-dyed appearance. The children painted the eggs with a food-safe paint first and then dip dyed theirs: amazing.

The children begged, when it hit 70 degrees and was "so hot, Mom, like South Carolina, to have the sprinklers run. Despite me thinking "Holy Moly they're NOT from the South anymore," I admit I indulged them.

After all, it is my responsibility as a homeowner to test the sprinkler system come Springtime, yes?

Friday, April 06, 2007

The celebration of poopy day

This story never made it out of draft mode, so I cleaned it up and posted it for you guys today. It's worth the click: ~D~ and the flaming sword of justice


Yesterday we had the Mackattack people over. I would identify them as the "eww don't lick that" people, but given that this day was all about poop I wouldn't want anyone to connect those two concepts. We didn't scoop poop before they played, which turned out to be a mistake. Although, come to think of it, that might not have mattered anyway, as D decided to drop trow and plop his own contribution right in the middle of the play area. Poor Mack could not breathe at this point, not from the fumes, but from the hysterical laughter into which the shock of it tossed her. I think what was more disturbing was the fact that doggies like to clean up toddler poo. They've very helpful that way.

Her own lovely dd, age 8.5, stepped into some doggie dirt and didn't realize it. When she tracked it into the kitchen, I asked her to remove her shoes. She did so but missed a bit and got some on her hand. Being an 8 yo girl, she started shaking her hand in disgust. I begged her "no, no, honey! we don't fling poo!" Another incongruous statement, and both Mack and I lost it.

Poop or not, the day wore on and the kids were all covered in grime. It was a nice 48-hour draw the-kids-off festival and now we're all tired.

So tired, in fact, that my toilet-striking toddler has pooped twice this morning on the carpet. I think I liked it better when he was lighting it on fire.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Montessori in Mexico

See link.

My goodness. She makes Montessori materials by hand, she knits and she builds sustainable housing in a gorgeous part of Mexico. I am in love. Ach so!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Lunch on Wednesdays

Today it was the C-family. Funny, last week it was the C-family! We love the C-family.

This week, they came down and the kids had lots of fun in the backyard. Ok, in the house as well. And in the front yard too. Just, lots of fun.

I didn't use the pressure cooker though. No beans for Niki.

My CD burner refuses to open so Nikirj was kind enough to spend several hours burning our digital pictures to disk. Some of you know just how big a gift that was. Now, I am free to take apart the computer and fix the drive door without fearing loss of precious, precious data.

Rock on, Sister Mama!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Code Yellow

You learn something new every day.

For instance, just yesterday I learned that at Target, the missing child protocol is called Code Yellow.

That's what they start saying into their walkie talkies as they fan out looking for your runaway toddler.


Yes, that's what I learned yesterday.

Monday, April 02, 2007

So yes. A few small repairs.

The water pump is misbehaving on our van, it would seem. The van is not overheating, but there is a scary whine now coming from the engine which is not related to the transmission, and the van is intermittently leaking coolant. Sometimes, no leakage, sometimes a whole LOT of leakage. So the family is grounded for a while. Which sucks, but not TOO much. Hopefully we can get this taken care of sooner than later.

We were grateful to get home Saturday after a particularly large coolant dump in a parking lot of a garden store. Schnayboy responded to our plaintive cry for help, via an answering machine and some cell phone calls. It was weird-awesome. We feel so alone out here most of the time when it comes to things like that. No longer do we have aunts / uncles / parents / friends around every corner to come help us. It is very comforting to know we have that to some small extent again-- someone who could come right then.

Yesterday ~G~ spent hours finding four leaf clovers in the backyard. We had a nice batch of them this year, and she even found a five-leaf one, which thrilled her to no end.

We had our first family fondue party this weekend. The kids had a blast, although I won't be making the Swiss for them again. Next time they'll get the cheddar pot! :)

My significantly different-from-me sister has been emailing me again. I am concerned about this. I gave my estranged family my new addresses and phone numbers when I got on the plane in 2004. Not once have either my mother or my sister acknowledged my D's life. No calls / letters / anything to any of us in years, even before we left SC. Now my sister has done two emails in a month and it's nerve wracking for me. My mother signed up to watch my children's youtubes. I got a letter from a cousin of mine on that side, who is trying to plan an impromptu family get-together, so I KNOW they have my address here. They just don't give a shit.

I won't say it doesn't haunt me-- I think the mother wound never heals, really-- but this tentative bullshit isn't working for me either. I am so starved for it that while intellectually I feel like my mother is spying on me, the broken, crying child in me is pathetically satisfied that at least she's curious. My sister will bore of us, and carry on with the rest of her weirdness.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

It's April

It is officially April.

Next month, five people I know will be giving birth.

Next month, two of them will experience their entire perceptions of life, law, gravity and the universe change.